Greyhound racing has been operating in the UK, in its modern form, since 1926. It is often broadcasted simultaneously during race meetings in high street bookmakers as a kind of support act for the main feature of horse racing. Although popularity of the sport has declined in recent years, with the closure of several tracks up and down the country, there is still a strong demand for greyhound betting especially with the introduction of online gaming.
And if you’re looking for a quick exhilarating thrill of a bet with a race time of around thirty seconds, then greyhound racing is possibly for you! Greyhound betting is also, in its simplest form, an extremely user friendly way to bet.
There are usually six runners (sometimes eight) and the bet is decided by you simply choosing the number of the greyhound. Although each greyhound has a name, the number of the greyhound is by far the most popular means of selection. They are also categorised by colour distinction which can be seen on the picture below.
The types of bet you can place on a greyhound race are not too dissimilar to horse racing. Win bets, each way, forecasts and tricasts are all available for greyhound bets and these will be explained later in greater detail. First off, let’s talk about the basic principles and options available in greyhound betting.
THE BASICS OF GREYHOUND RACING
How many runners are there in a greyhound race?
Six is the most common number of runners in a greyhound race. Eight is also possible.
What are the distances that greyhounds run?
That will depend entirely on where the track is as distances vary according to the location. Races are essentially divided into four categories: Sprint, Middle, Stayers and Marathon. The Sprint races range from 210 metres (as featured at the Monmore track in Birmingham) to 380 metres. Middle, which are the most common distances on a race card, are usually 400-550 metres whilst Stayers races will cover 600-750 metres. Marathons are not very common but these will cater for greyhounds running at 800 metres +. Tracks are nearly always oval shaped.
Where are the greyhound tracks?
Sadly, the number of greyhound tracks have reduced dramatically in recent years and you’re more likely to find a Pure Gym or an Ikea in its place. However, the classic tracks at Romford, Catford and Monmore are still doing a brisk trade and are regularly covered during afternoons in a high street bookmakers. There is an array of greyhound track locations around the UK.
What types of greyhound races are there?
There are standard races whereby the greyhound will run a “flat” race around the track. There are also hurdle races and handicaps whereby greyhounds will start at different positions not too dissimilar to the 400 metres running races in athletics. Positions are based on form and ability with Trap 1 being interpreted as the weakest up to Trap 8. Therefore, Trap 1 will have the least distance to cover and Trap 8 will have the most.
Types of Greyhound bets
Information about the different types of bets on horse racing is very similar to the bets that can be placed on greyhounds.
Win or Each Way
Win bets are used for simply choosing the greyhound to finish first. Each way bets are essentially two bets: one for the win and one for the place. Therefore a £1 each way bet on a greyhound will be £2 total outlay as there is £1 spent on the win bet and £1 spent on the place bet. A 6 runner race means that greyhounds are placed at ¼ the odds for 1st and 2nd. If you backed a greyhound and it finished second at 8/1, you would lose £1 as the win bet was lost but the bet would return £3 as the greyhound was placed at ¼ odds of 8/1. Therefore a profit of £1 is achieved. However, if the greyhound won, the return would be £12 as you would receive the win bet (£9, 8/1 x £1 plus stake returned) as well as the placed bet return.
Forecasts & Reversed Forecasts
This is where greyhound betting really comes to the fore and becomes excitingly lucrative. In all honesty, win and each way betting on greyhounds is a viable choice but the real money is on predicting the order of the first two in the race: forecasts! The forecast is very straightforward: predict first and second in the correct order.
This bet is often referred to as the straight forecast bet whereby the return is based on the amount decided by the Tote return ( a pool based betting organisation). A reversed forecast is two straight forecast bets which covers the greyhound coming first and second in either order. Therefore, a 50p reversed forecast on traps 1 and 2 would cost £1. If 1 beats 2 as a result of the race, you will receive the Exacta Tote forecast divided for that bet but lose the 2 to beat 1 bet.
Tricasts and Trifectas: The first three home
This is where the stakes increase but the rewards can be potentially enormous. Essentially the objective here is to predict the first three home in the correct order. The odds are of course stacked heavily against the punter as getting the result correct is pretty much down to an enormous stroke of luck or the rare case of all greyhounds in the race running exactly to what their form guide and ability suggests, which as we know in racing practically never happens. However, the solution to increasing the likelihood of getting a return from the tricast is to select an option which is in principle the same as the reversed forecast, namely combined tricast.
This is where 3 dogs are chosen and a pay-out is achieved if the three dogs come first, second and third in any order. The only catch is that you have to pay for each combination, therefore, choosing three dogs to cover all result scenarios will be 6 times the unit bet. For example, a 50p combination tricast will cost £3: 6 x each 50p tricast. The amount of the return will be decided by the Tote return.
HOW TO READ GREYHOUND FORM GUIDES
Reading the form guides for greyhound racing is essentially down to unravelling a lot of statistical information. The form guide will primarily give information on previous tracks the dog ran on, distances and grades of race. We’ll take a look at all of the previous race factors that determine the form of the greyhound.
There is statistical information regarding how the greyhound performs in relation to which trap number it has been granted. This would be useful information to gauge whether, for example, the greyhound causes trouble from the inside traps (1,2,3) and thereby affecting the chances of the outside traps (4,5,6). It might be apparent that some dogs prefer to race on the outside (6) or in inside (1).
Statistical information (usually out of 28 races) which gives details of how well the greyhound has performed in a particular class. Therefore, greyhounds that have been recently downgraded are worth looking at to see if they can win at a lower level.
It’s also possible to see where the greyhound was placed at each bend of the track during a race. It will appear like this: 2233 for example. This simply means that the dog was second and the first bend, second at the second and so on. This gives an indication if the dog wins more regularly on a fast getaway or wins more frequently by making a late surge.
This is probably the most important form information in that this statistical information will provide you with the running time the greyhound took to complete a race based on taking the distance, going and defeat length into account: Winner's time +/- going + distance beaten.
How to fill in a greyhound betting slip
In principle, there isn’t much difference between selecting a horse and greyhound in terms what is written on the betting slip in a high street bookmaker. If you are selecting the win bet, it suffices just to write “T2 for the win” and to write the stake amount. For forecasts, you need to write both greyhounds involved, so for example “£3 forecast 2 x 3”. With a reversed forecast, you simply add “Rev” to the bet and ensure you have doubled the stake to account for both possible results. Tricasts will involve all three numbers of course and again remember to include all stakes for combined tricasts.
Which are the best online sites for betting on the dogs?
The online revolution in online gaming has meant that the choices and opportunities for greyhound betting have multiplied relentlessly! The great thing about online greyhound betting is the increased choices of races and providing you have bet at least £1 on the race, the majority of online bookmakers will allow you to watch the races through live streaming.
Betfair have a very user friendly site which gives best odds guaranteed for each greyhound race, but the most attractive point is their form summary which is clearly visible on the main page for the next available race. They also have an excellent virtual racing facility with very clear, defined images along with great use of colour.
Good luck with all future greyhound bets!